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Telephone Interview Tips

By Eden Slegr, President, Global Hospitality, Inc

If you are actively job searching, be prepared for a phone interview at a moment’s notice! You never know when a recruiter or a networking contact might call and ask if you “have a few minutes to talk.”

Employers often use telephone interviews as a way to recruit candidates and it is the only way for your possible “next boss” to decide if they want to bring you in for an “in-person,” or fly you in if you are an “out-of-town candidate.” 

Be Prepared 

Prepare for a phone interview just as you would for a regular interview. Put together a list of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as a list of answers to typical interview questions.

  • Be ready to talk about your professional background and skills. 
  • Keep your resume in clear view, on the top of your desk, or tape it to the wall near the phone, so it’s at your fingertips when you need to answer questions. 
  • Have a short list of your accomplishments available to review. 
  • Have a pen and paper handy for note-taking. 
  • Turn call-waiting off so your call isn’t interrupted. 
  • If the time isn’t convenient, ask to reschedule and suggest some alternatives. 
  • Clear the room, close the door – evict the kids and the pets! And turn off the TV or radio! 
  • Tell everyone in the house that you’re having a phone interview and ask them to not interrupt or pick up the phone.


Talking on the phone isn’t as easy as it seems. It helps to practice. Have a friend or family member help do a mock interview. You can even record it to see how you sound over the phone. Rehearse answers to those typical questions you’ll be asked. 

During the Phone Interview

  • Don’t smoke, chew gum, eat, or drink. 
  • Keep a glass of water handy, in case you need to wet your mouth. 
  • Smile. Smiling will project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice. 
  • Speak slowly and enunciate clearly. 
  • Give short but thoughtful answers. 
  • Don’t interrupt the interviewer. 
  • Take your time – it’s okay to take a moment or two to collect your thoughts. 
  • Remember your goal is to set-up a face-to-face interview. After you thank the interviewer ask if it would be possible to meet in person.

After the Interview:

  • Take notes about what you were asked and how you answered. 
  • Remember to say THANK YOU. Follow with a thank you notewhich clearly expresses your interest in the job. Send the note to your recruiter FIRST for their professional opinion and to double check for misspellings or other mistakes that might cause a future employer concern or doubt your competency. 

Eden Slegr has been in the hospitality recruiting and consulting business for over 20 years. He is principal and founder of Global Hospitality, Inc., Angeles, a leading international hospitality recruitment and executive search firm.Prior to his recruiting career, Mr. Slegr’s background includes management positions within the hospitality industry in food and beverage, finance, and as General Manager. In 1998, Mr. Slegr co-founded Hospitality Careers Online, Inc served on the Hcareers’ Board of Directors.Mr. Slegr has a BS from Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.